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Tomato Canning

September 5, 2011

As the end of Tennessee’s amazing tomato season approaches, I couldn’t let it pass us by without preserving the bounty to sustain us through this winter. The canning adventures of earlier this summer had gone smoothly (with the exception of my peach butter… still pretty bummed about that one) so I knew I needed to give tomato canning a go. My parents came to town for a long weekend and I figured what better time to knock this out than when I have some free labor?! So I took the day off work and my mom and I set up shop in the kitchen.

First, a stop at the farmers market to pick up 50 lbs of tomatoes. Unfortunately I failed to get a picture of this haul, but it surprisingly wasn’t that big at all. 2 half bushel buckets full and we were on our way. 

Now I am not going to sit here and give a step by step of the procedure for canning because, really, no one does it better and safer than the folks at the National Center for Home Food Preservation. I urge you to follow their instructions to a T if you plan on canning, they know what they are doing. However I did change the beginning process of my canning adventure and I do not regret it one bit. 

After the painstaking peach adventure, I am really not a fan of the time and effort it takes to blanch and peel, so there was no way I was doing it with 50 lbs of tomatoes. Plus I also really enjoy the flavor of roasted tomatoes. So instead of the blanch/peel process that most canning procedures start with, we simply cored the tomatoes, set them whole on a baking sheet and roasted at 400 degrees until the skins began to split. After about 45 minutes of cooking and a few minutes of cooling, the peels came off just as easily as blanching with alot less effort in my opinion.

Pour the juice and skin-less tomatoes into a sauce pan, crush, and bring to a boil.

From that point on just follow the rest of the canning instructions carefully and you end up with beautiful in-season tomatoes all winter long!

50 lbs of tomatoes gave us exactly 20 quarts of crushed tomatoes – 18 cans and 2 freezer bags. I have already used one of the freezer bags worth to make a tomato sauce and it tasted perfectly like I had used fresh tomatoes from the get go. Cannot wait to have that all winter!

Get out there and preserve the bounty for yourself before its too late! You wont regret it one bit.


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